How to get a Job in Spain

Created: Nov 13, 2023 | Updated: Feb 2, 2024

Are you dreaming of working and living in Spain? This article will help you on how to get a job in Spain. From navigating the job market to understanding the cultural nuances, we cover everything you need to know to embark on your Spanish work adventure!

Spain is not just a popular tourist destination; it's also a highly sought-after place for foreigners seeking employment. There are several reasons for this that go beyond the sunny skies and beautiful beaches that Spain is famous for.

If you asked me, (of course you didn’t) Spain’s economy is one of the reasons I will consider working there. The economic landscape, while having faced challenges, is diverse and offers opportunities in various sectors. Major cities like Madrid and Barcelona are hubs for international business, finance, and tech startups, providing numerous jobs in Spain for foreigners. Beyond the major cities, there are thriving industries in tourism, agriculture, and renewable energy, offering a range of Spain jobs for foreigners. Over 3 million expatriates are currently thriving in Spain, including more than 1.6 million non-EU citizens. The allure of Spain lies in its quality of life, rich history, and the opportunity to work in a dynamic and culturally rich environment. Personally, I would love to experience the nightlife when I travel to Spain. Maybe, fall in love with a stranger and Salsa into the night.  


Is it Easy to Get a Job in Spain?

When contemplating moving to Spain for work, we imagine one of the most pressing questions on your mind is: how easy is it to find employment? The answer is nuanced and depends on various factors including your industry, skill level, and ability to speak Spanish.

In recent years, Spain's job market has faced significant challenges. The country has been grappling with a high unemployment rate, which is among the most concerning aspects for job seekers. Particularly troubling is the youth unemployment rate – Spain has one of the worst youth unemployment rates in the European Union. This statistic reflects the difficulties faced by young Spaniards in finding stable employment, a situation that can also impact expatriates seeking jobs.

The high unemployment rate is partly due to the economic downturns Spain has experienced in the past that have had long-lasting effects on the job market, particularly for younger demographics. Industries that traditionally employed a large number of young people, such as tourism and hospitality, have been hit hard, further exacerbating the problem.

However, this doesn't mean that finding a job in Spain is impossible. The situation is more favourable for skilled professionals, especially those in high-demand sectors such as IT, healthcare, engineering, and business as they are often looking for qualified professionals who can offer more opportunities compared to sectors like hospitality or retail, which are more saturated and competitive.

On another hand, language can be both a barrier and a gateway in the Spanish job market. Because, while many international companies operate in English, a significant portion of the job market favours or requires fluency in Spanish. Hence, learning the language can greatly enhance job prospects, not just by expanding the pool of opportunities but also by aiding in social and professional integration.



Do I Need a Visa to Work in Spain?

The need for a visa to work in Spain largely hinges on your nationality, aligning with Spain's immigration policies and agreements within the European Union. Let’s break down what this means for different groups:

  1. EU and EFTA Citizens
    - Freedom of Movement: Citizens from countries within the European Union (EU) and the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) – which includes countries like Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein – enjoy the freedom of movement. This principle is a cornerstone of the EU, allowing citizens to live and work in other EU/EFTA countries without the need for a work permit.

    - Simplified Process: They can enter Spain and start working almost immediately. They only need to register with the local authorities and obtain a certificate of registration or a residence card. This process is straightforward, usually requiring just an ID or passport, proof of employment, and sometimes proof of accommodation or sufficient financial means.

  2. Non-EU/EFTA Citizens
    - Visa Requirements: For those outside the EU/EFTA zone, the process is more intricate. Non-EU citizens typically need a work visa to legally work in Spain. The type of visa required depends on the nature of the work and the duration of the stay.

    - Work Permits: Alongside the visa, a work permit is also necessary. This is usually obtained by the employer, who must prove that the job position could not be filled by a Spanish or EU citizen. This process involves various checks and balances to prioritize the local workforce.


Types of Work Visas in Spain

Each type of work visa has its own set of requirements and application procedures. It's important to carefully research and understand the specifics of the visa that aligns best with your situation and goals in Spain.

  1. General Work Visa (Permiso de Trabajo General): This is the standard work visa for non-EU citizens. It requires a job offer from a Spanish employer. The employer must demonstrate that the position could not be filled by a Spanish or EU citizen.
  2. Highly Skilled Professionals Visa (Visado de Profesionales Altamente Cualificados): Aimed at managers, highly qualified professionals, and graduates from prestigious universities. This visa is part of the Entrepreneurs Law designed to attract talent and investment to Spain.
  3. EU Blue Card: Similar to the U.S. Green Card, the EU Blue Card is for highly qualified non-EU nationals seeking to work in Spain. Applicants need a higher education degree and a job offer with a salary of at least 1.5 times the average gross annual salary in Spain.
  4. Seasonal Work Visa: For those seeking to work in seasonal jobs, such as in agriculture or tourism. These visas are typically short-term and may have specific conditions regarding the length of stay and type of employment.
  5. Au Pair Visas: Specifically for young people who want to learn the language and culture of Spain by living with a Spanish family and helping with childcare and light housework.
  6. Student Work Visa: For international students in Spain who wish to work part-time or in a temporary job during their studies. The work hours are typically limited to not interfere with the study schedule.
  7. Entrepreneur and Startup Visas: For those who plan to establish a business in Spain. This type of visa requires a business plan to be approved and is part of the effort to foster entrepreneurial activities in Spain.
  8. Research and Development Visa: Aimed at researchers, scientists, and academics involved in R&D projects. This visa is part of Spain’s commitment to innovation and scientific advancement.
  9. Non-Lucrative Visa: This visa allows individuals to live in Spain provided they have sufficient funds to support themselves without working. This is often used by retirees or those with passive income.
  10. Intra-Company Transfer Visa: For employees who are being transferred to a Spanish branch of their company. This visa is for temporary transfers and is typically used by multinational corporations.


What are the Requirements to Work in Spain? 

Below is a table summarizing the requirements to work in Spain, differentiated between EU and non-EU citizens:

RequirementEU CitizensNon-EU Citizens
Work PermitNot requiredRequired; specific type depends on job and qualifications
VisaNot requiredRequired. Type depends on job and duration of stay
Job OfferRecommended but not mandatoryMandatory; must be obtained before applying for a work permit
NIE Number (Número de Identidad de Extranjero)Required for residency, tax, and social security purposesRequired for residency, tax, and social security purposes
Social Security RegistrationRequired; allows access to healthcare and social servicesRequired; allows access to healthcare and social services
Spanish Language ProficiencyNot legally required, but highly beneficial for most jobsNot legally required, but highly beneficial for most jobs
Qualifications and ExperienceDepends on job requirementsMust often be officially recognized or validated in Spain; some professions may require specific Spanish qualifications
Health InsuranceEHIC card for short stays; private health insurance or registration in the Spanish public health system for residentsPrivate health insurance required for visa application; option to register in the Spanish public health system once employed
Background CheckNot typically requiredOften required for visa application
the Recommended for receiving salary and managing financesOften required for visa and work permit application


The Process of Landing a Job in Spain

  • Decide on the Type of Job: Reflect on your skills, qualifications, and the type of work you enjoy. This will guide you in identifying the industries and roles suitable for you. 
  • Understand Spanish Work Culture and Professional Differences: Spanish work culture values personal relationships and a balanced lifestyle which may include a siesta (afternoon break). Being aware of these cultural nuances can be beneficial.
  • Fine-tune Your Resume: Tailor your resume to highlight skills and experiences relevant to the jobs you're applying for. Also ensure your LinkedIn and other professional profiles are up-to-date, as they are commonly used for recruitment
  • Find Jobs Through Staffing Agencies and Expat Groups.
  • Crush the Interview Process: Research the company and the role. Practice your answers to common interview questions. Research the company and the role. Practice your answers to common interview questions.
  • Apply for Any Needed Documentation like your Work permit, Visa, NIE, and Social Security Number after landing the job.


The Process of Landing a Job in Spain


Documents Required Before Moving to Spain for Work as a Foreigner

  1. A job offer or contract from a Spanish employer or an employer resident in Spain.
  2. A valid work permit and visa application.
  3. Valid Passport.
  4. Criminal record certificate.
  5. Medical certificate.
  6. Proof of adequate finance.
  7. Relevant educational and professional qualifications.
  8. Health insurance documentation.
  9. Birth and marriage certificate (if applicable).
  10. Housing arrangements.
  11. Driver’s license and vehicle contract if you plan to drive in Spain (to be obtained on arrival).
  12. Sworn translation of all foreign-issued documents. If your official documents (like birth certificates, marriage certificates, and academic degrees) are not in Spanish, you will need to get them translated by a sworn translator in Spain. Sworn translation services in Spain provide legally recognized translations essential for bureaucratic processes.



Best Jobs in Spain for Foreigners

The best jobs in Spain for international citizens often depend on the individual's qualifications, skills, and sometimes language proficiency. Some of the best jobs for international citizens include IT, Teaching (English), Hospitality, Tourism, Healthcare, Business and Finance.

Can I get a Job in Spain Without Speaking Spanish?

Yes, it's possible to get a job in Spain without speaking Spanish, especially in sectors like IT, teaching English, or in multinational companies where English is the primary working language.


Related Posts:

How to get a job in Spain as an American: Top 8 jobs 

How to get Married to a Spanish Citizen as a Foreigner in Spain 

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